OXFORD, MS (WMC-TV) - Some students at the University of Mississippi want Admiral Ackbar of "Star Wars" fame for their new mascot - but as Ackbar himself might say, "It's a trap."
Officials say there's virtually no chance the fish-faced leader of the Rebel Alliance in the movie could become the on-field mascot for the Rebels of Ole Miss, but that isn't deterring some Ole Miss "Star Wars" fanatics from promoting the pop-eyed space character.
Students voted this week to begin the search for a new mascot at the Southeastern Conference school. The Oxford-based university has been without a mascot since 2003, when Colonel Reb, a caricature of an aging Southern planter, was run off the field.
"We never intended for Ackbar to be the mascot," said Joseph Katool, founder of the Ole Miss Rebel Alliance, the group promoting Ackbar as a mascot. "It was more of a way to push forward the "yes" vote and make sure students knew they could vote yes."
Of late, the Ackbar movement has 2,900 friends on Facebook, more than 1,000 followers on Twitter, and has received national attention from media outlets like The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and even TMZ.
"It's been interesting," Katool said. "I just got off the phone about 30 minutes ago with ESPN Radio."
So is Ackbar just enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, or will his image be the new face of Ole Miss?
"Really where it goes from here is we want the students to decide," Katool said.
Lucasfilm, producer of the "Star Wars" movies, responded to the grassroots movement.
"Lucasfilm is flattered that our Star Wars fans at the University of Mississippi are considering electing Admiral Ackbar their mascot," said a statement. "The last time we checked in with Admiral Ackbar he was leading the Rebel Alliance Fleet on a critical mission, so it will be difficult for him to show up to the games."
Ole Miss will keep the Rebel name - the school is only deciding on a new face to represent it.
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